My Recovery from Injury: What You Can Do
In mid November I had an injury to my knee. I tore part of my meniscus and Lateral Collateral Ligament. It was very painful and there was marked swelling. I was able to walk on the leg, but going up stairs and trying to run was extremely painful and nearly impossible. It also took a lot out of me mentally because I was running approximately 35 miles a week, which I would no longer be able to accomplish. There is never a good time to be injured. It can get in the way of both work and home life, and leave you feeling drained. Here is what I did to bounce back from my injury and get back on track. I hope this will help!
Immediately after injury:
Try to get to a doctor right away. The appropriate tests need to be done to properly diagnose and begin treatment of an injury. Luckily I was able to do the orthopedic tests, and by the mechanism of injury I was fairly certain of my diagnosis. If it had been worse an MRI and/or x-ray would need to be done. The x-ray would be able to show if any bones had been fractured and the MRI would be able to show what soft tissue damage was done and the extent of injury to structures involved.
The day after the initial injury I tried to run and it was extremely painful. I would be off of running on my leg for the next 9 days. During this time I underwent the RICE protocol, along with acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, and supplements.
Rest- I tried my best to stay off my knee.
Ice- I iced my knee for at least the first 48 hours after the injury, 20 minutes at a time, as needed.
Compress- I had a compression knee brace, as well a more restrictive brace. I used the compression brace when the swelling was bad. The restrictive brace was used when I had to get around and needed the extra support.
Elevate- Elevate the injured leg when it is swollen to help decrease the swelling.
Acupuncture: Used to help decrease pain and swelling in my knee.
Chiropractic: Used to help keep my spine working at full capacity (especially my low back and pelvis). When you are not using one leg properly, compensation may occur which can lead to more problems in the future.
I increased my omega-3 intake to over 1500 mg per day during this time to help with the inflammation and pain in my knee.
I was able to start doing light exercises (1-2 miles of jogging 2-3 times a week). I continued with the acupuncture and chiropractic treatments, RICE protocol, and lowered my omega-3 intake to around 1000 mg per day.
I was able to start doing more moderate exercise (2-3 miles per day 2-4 times a week).
Just over a month after the injury I am almost completely pain free (except for some mornings). The swelling is significantly decreased, but still seen after exercise. My range of motion is back to approximately 85% where it was prior to injury. I am up to running about 25 miles a week.
Tips to prevent, rehab, and quickly recover from injuries:
- Acupuncture and chiropractic treatments can help with pain, and may help prevent injuries from happening (or from being more severe). These treatments are my go-to for injury prevention and recovery.
- Supplements and diet: Being on an anti-inflammatory diet, and taking the proper omega-3 supplements may be able to help reduce levels of pain. These two things in combination will keep the body’s natural inflammatory response from spiraling out of control or becoming a chronic condition.
- Get the help you need right away: Be sure to get a diagnosis for an injury and begin the proper rehabilitation process. Remember that the healing process takes time. Be proactive on becoming healthier and stronger than you were before the injury.
- Stay positive! Don’t get discouraged.
- Take the time needed to rest and recover. Returning to activity too soon may lead to further injuries and longer rehab times.
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This information is for educational purposes only. Seek the advice of a health specialist before making any changes to your healthcare.